THE EIGHT-WEEK window between Willie Rioli returning to West Coast training and then becoming available to play is enough for the club to put him through a mini pre-season and get him ready for selection, according to coach Adam Simpson. 

Rioli is able to return to the club on June 20 after he was handed a backdated two-year ban for twice tampering with a urine sample, with his suspension to expire on August 20. 


The Eagles have struggled to fill the hole left by the premiership small forward and can now start planning for his availability and ramping up his remote training program. 

Simpson said the two-month window for the 25-year-old to rejoin the club before his suspension expires was enough time to train and reconnect with his coaches and teammates before playing.  

"There's plenty of time. He's been training on and off for a year-and-a-half," the coach said.  

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"I don't know the condition he's in physically and mentally but he's got a bit of time. He's been loosely following a program but now he can ramp it up. 

"When he gets back we'll see what his fitness is like. He's going to have plenty of time to train with the players and get reconnected with us and the club and the fans.

"From what I've seen he's been pretty motivated. There's been some ups and downs obviously, but I think he just wants to play football." 

Simpson said the Eagles and Rioli needed to improve communication after a long period out of touch because of the "tyranny of distance".  

He said the pair had exchanged text messages and were due to speak on the phone on Friday. 

The club will also hold a list management meeting on Friday to discuss its options for placing the talented Eagle on the 'inactive' list until he is available.  

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Simpson said the overwhelming feeling after the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal ruling was relief, with all avenues for appeal now also expired, meaning the two-year ban is final.  

"Whether it was this year or next year, we can plan now," he said. "We can plan our list, we can plan Willie's comeback, he's contracted to us, which is great … I'm just glad we got a result."

Adam Simpson and Willie Rioli after West Coast's win in the 2018 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

The Eagles take on Fremantle on Sunday in the AAMI Community Series, with ruckman Nic Naitanui to return from a hamstring injury and play just over a half, while key players Jeremy McGovern, Luke Shuey, Shannon Hurn and Tom Barrass will play full matches. 

Champion forward Josh Kennedy (calf) and star midfielder Tim Kelly (thumb) will not play but are on track to face Gold Coast in round one on March 21 at Optus Stadium. 

"We're looking for a bit better performance than last week," Simpson said after the Eagles' disappointing scratch match against Fremantle last week. 

"We had a team that wasn't at full strength, but I thought the intensity was off and we were on the back foot the whole day. 

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"We need to lift. We're building, but we've got to get going." 

Simpson said star midfielder Elliot Yeo had completed a strong training session last Friday, changing direction and moving powerfully, but he would not be rushed in his recovery from osteitis pubis. 

"We're making progress and he's way more advanced than three or four weeks ago. It's slow though and it's not going to be round one," the coach said.  

"I'm in a rush to get him back, but we won't rush his progression. His body will tell us when it gets to the next level and how he pulls up after each session."